European stocks advance as monetary and fiscal measures mount; Stoxx 600 up 3.5%

European markets bounced Friday morning after a volatile week, as central banks and governments around the world adopt a “whatever it takes” approach to mitigating the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the dollar is enjoying its strongest week since the financial crisis and hammering currencies around the world, as investors continue a dash to cash in anticipation of a possible global recession.

Europe has now become the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, with Italy’s death toll surpassing that of China, where the virus originated, and cases rising exponentially across the continent. 

In corporate news, airlines continue to be crushed by falling demand amid the outbreak and associated border shutdowns. German carrier Lufthansa has grounded most of its fleet, and on Thursday warned that the industry may not survive the pandemic without government bailouts.

Biggest movers

Virgin Money U.K. shares surged 33%, while SSP Group, Wood Group and Osram Licht all added more than 24% as the stocks that took the biggest losses over the past week began a resurgence.

British retailer W.H. Smith jumped 20%, rebounding from a heavy run of losses after warning of the significant impact of the coronavirus to its businesses.

At the bottom of the European benchmark, British quality assurance company Intertek slid 6.3%.

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